I had a good time on television last night with Chris Berg, as usual.
We discussed my post from yesterday about the North Dakota National Guard responding to accusations that one of their recruiters was behaving in a racist manner at basketball tournament. For those of you tuning in, a University of North Dakota instructor felt the recruiter was dismissive of Native American fans at the tournament because while closing up his booth for the day he gave away the rest of his freebies to “white” the Rugby High School fans he was near. He then joined those fans in some cheers for their team.
Apparently, when giving away freebies, the National Guard is supposed to implement some sort of quota system to ensure that all racial demographics on hand are equally represented among the recipients. Or something like that.
The accusation is ridiculous, and the endless obsession over this sort of nonsense is detrimental to improving race relations. How are we supposed to build trust when we an organization like the National Guard must acknowledge with an apology petty accusations over actions that are not demonstrably racist in action or intent?
I also chafe that this endless suggestion that we “start a conversation” about race (I’m looking at you, Starbucks). We’re always talking about race. There are entire political careers built on the back of race issues. At times, in politics, it seems race is just about the only thing we ever talk about.
Might we not be better served if we made an effort to move on? If we stopped trying to ferret out any hint of racism in the actions and words of our fellow citizens and/or political opponents, and instead just accepted one another for what we are?
Maybe that’s pollyannish of me, and certainly those who make a living being professionally outraged by racial slights aren’t about to accept that sort of suggestion, but I think our society would be healthier for it.